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Kona Offshore Update Fishing Report - July 12, 2016

Date of trip: July 12, 2016
Posted July 13, 2016 by FishTrack Member
  • Marlin Magic boated the winning fish in the Skins Tournament and took home the largest payout in Kona history. The exact amount has not yet been certified. Capt. Bryan Toney with Dave Noling, Dougy Pattengill, and Henry O'Connell. 1 of 4
  • The day after the World Cup Blue Marlin Championship, Night Runner broke off the biggest fish skipper Shawn Rotella says he has ever seen. Photo courtesy of Night Runner Sportfishing. 2 of 4
  • Asa and Moorea Su guitan and Jessie Gay with the 209-pound ahi they boated on a crazy day aboard their 19-foot Crazy Ann. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk. 3 of 4
  • Gabriella Yuschenkoff, 13, with her dad Nicholas Yuschenkoff and the crew of Fire Hatt. Her 643-pound blue missed the Blue Marlin World Cup by one day. Photo courtesy of the Charter Desk. 4 of 4
The 2016 World Cup Blue Marlin Championship may become known as “the one that got away” from Kona. Why? We’ll look at what happened and then at what might have happened.

As it has for 25 years, the event was contested on marlin grounds around the world on July 4. Fishing started at 8:30 am and ran until 4:30 pm in every time zone. So the rest of the world was already done fishing by the time the 54-boat Kona fleet set out its lines.

By then the Madeira boat Blue Makaira had boated a 983-pound blue marlin. It would take a grander to beat it. Were there any granders in Kona waters that day? Good question. But the only practical answer is that no one found one here that day so Blue Makaira pocketed a big payday. We’ll come back to this question later.

A second worldwide big money competition, the Big Blue Challenge (BBC), ran simultaneously with the World Cup. Teams could enter both with the hopes of winning both. Blue Makaira was not entered in the BBC so its 983-pound blue didn’t matter. The Bermuda boat Reel Addiction pulled in a 625-pound blue marlin to win the BBC for angler Stephanie Choate. Ironically, Stephanie fished the World Cup here in 2014 on the Kona boat Huntress and won the cup for Kona witha 656-pound blue.

Again with another question. On July 4, were there any marlin here in Kona that were bigger than the Reel Addiction 625-pounder? The 54-boat Kona fleet didn’t find one, but we’ll get back to the question later, too.

A third competition, the Kona Cup also ran simultaneously with the worldwide tournaments that day. To win this local competition, a team had only to catch a 500-pound blue marlin. No 500-pounder was weighed. Were there any 500-pounders in Kona waters that day?

So now you know what happened. What might have happened tells you why these three competitions are “the ones that got away.” Punch line. Daddy really fun but next time can we catch the marlin?


Was there a grander in Kona waters on July 4? The best answer may be in the story of what happened on Night Runner the very next day. Capt. Shawn Rotella says it may have been the most exciting fishing day of his life.

A “crazy big fish” swam up behind the bullet lure on his outrigger and, without popping the line out of the clip, continued to swim up the spread to look for something else to eat, Shawn said.

After hooking the big blue, they fought it hard until they were finally able to get hold of the 530-pound-test leader. Though they did their best to hang on, the marlin popped the leader, but not before they got a good look at its immense size.

Shawn posted photos of the fish at boatside before it broke free. The image is indistinct, but the impressive shape tells you why Shawn estimates the fish at “1,400 easy.”

“I’ll be amazed if I ever see something that big again,” Shawn said.

Moving on from the grander that hid from the World Cup fleet, was there a fish here big enough to beat the Bermuda 625-pounder and win the Big Blue Challenge?

The answer came from a 13-year-old California girl who was visiting here with her family and fished on Fire Hatt the day after the World Cup. About noon, skipper Joe Shoemaker put young Gabriella Yuschenkoff on a big fish and strapped her into the bucket harness in the fighting chair.

“Ella may be only 5’ 8” but she is very, very strong,” her dad Nicholas said. “She owns a horse and has been fishing and riding her whole life.”

To prove it, Nicholas showed me a video of Ella at 9 impressing a crew in Cabo as she battled an ahi from the chair without a bucket harness.

Wherever she got her strength and determination, the little lady from Laguna Niguel got her marlin to the boat in a half hour. No need to guess the size of the fish. The scale read “643” pounds, which is big enough to have won the BBC for an angler of any size, age, gender and port of call.

Now for the third of the Independence Day Triple Crown action. Wasn’t there at least one 500 pounder around that day? Again, more evidence from the day after. On July 5, Chris Siemen fished on Bomboy’s Toy with Capt. Bomboy Llanes and caught a blue estimated at 550 pounds. Chris and Bomboy released the fish without weighing, but the estimate is undoubtedly a good one.

If you only have faith in weighed fish, Dustin Clark caught a 503-pound blue two days later.

Maybe the big ones are keyed into Kona’s heavy tournament and know when to hide? The big ones were AWOL during the Marlin Magic Lure Tournament, the Kona Throwdown and the first two days of the Skins Marlin Derby.

On Day Three (Sunday), Marlin Magic turned it around with a 696-pound blue marlin for Henry O’Connell. Capt. Bryan Toney took his team right back out immediately to keep trying for a bigger one even though there were only a few hours left in the three-day tournament. This is Kona and there are always bigger fish waiting for the right time to bite.


Now is the height of ahi season, which means the yellowfins can be anywhere at any time. The 19-foot family boat Crazy Ann caught one of the biggest tuna of the week (225 pounds before gutting, 209 at the scale) after giving up looking for one.

As his crew, Asa Suigitan had his daughter Moorea, 11, and a visiting friend from Vermont, Jesse Gay aboard for an exploratory trip out of Honokohau. They left the harbor just after 6:00 am, set out the lines and immediately had a 200-pound marlin on. After fighting it for 15 minutes, the marlin jumped off so they kept on trolling down the coastline toward C-buoy.

They boated an 18-pound skipjack tuna and headed on toward the “Third Flow.” On the 500-fathom edge, the long corner line started screaming with what Asa thought was a big ahi. As he cleared lines, Asa looked up and saw a 600-pound marlin jump.

“It was the most acrobatic fish I have ever scene,” Asa said. “It threw water 10 feet in the air. Then it turned back toward us, leaving a huge loop of line in the water.”

The fish took advantage to the slack line of the loop to shake free. By now, it was time to head back to Honokohau along the 800. Asa was ready to give up when they reached VV buoy so he started to pull in line to call it quits. Just then, the short-rigger line came down and the reel started screaming. His big ahi had come calling.

Asa put the boat into neutral and fought the fish for a half hour until it was straight up and down under the boat. He gradually worked it up a foot at a time until the fish stopped him dead about 40 feet below. It stayed right there for another half hour as it pulled the boat around in circles. The fish tired from dragging the boat behind it and he was finally able to get the leader within reach.

The fish kept winning the hand-to-hand combat and Asa had to dump the leader a half dozen times as the fish pulled free of his grasp. He was finally able to secure it at boatside and then do his best to pull it aboard.

After they got the fish to the scales, Moorea “put the punchline to the end of the story,” Asa said.

The young lady was very pleased with the catch but asked “Next time, can we catch the marlin, too.”


Summertime and the ika-shibi fishing is easy, or maybe not. The name says you are fishing for ika (squid) to attract shibi (bigeye, yellowfin and albacore). The fact that it happens at night is unstated but real. For Jesse Rogers, an overnight ika-shibi trip got very real when he hooked one of the strangest creatures you might never want to pull up out of the inky blackness of a dark night.

The lights under his boat and the chum he was tossing out had called in a school of squid just as planned. Most “ika” are about the size you find frozen in the boxes of “calamari” you find at in the frozen food section. On a good night, they are two or three times as big.

This time, Jesse dropped his JT squid jig down into the dark below and snagged something that fought like a tuna. As it emerged into the glow of the lights, he saw the wide rectangular wingspan of a big diamondback squid. A squid can attack you with a hard-biting beak, powerful arms, and a highly specialized chemical weapon. With no way to grab or bite Jesse, the big diamondback blasted him with a noxious blue-black ink. The ink is very annoying but not poisonous. It can even be used as a flavoring or coloring for tasty dishes.

Jesse’s unusual diamondback weighed 28.5 pounds. Good to eat but much better as bait.

Report by Jim Rizzuto

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